Scrolling through your news feed can be a time sink, but it can also be a mood sink if your friends list is full of negative influences. Of course, no one really sets out to be a downer on social media, but too often, you’ll find people who just depress the heck out of you whenever you see their posts, when they comment on your posts, or when they send you messages.
Which is why Facebook has that oh-so-handy “Unfriend” button, Twitter lets you unfollow people, and so on.
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While you might not feel too good about removing a person from your friends list initially, think of it as trimming the negativity from your social media experience. It doesn’t mean you can’t be perfectly nice to that person in real life. It’s just a matter of sticking to what’s positive in a space where you can control your encounters and interactions. There’s so much drama in real life—there’s no need to go looking for it online!
Keep reading for our list of people to unfriend and unfollow.
1. Your Ex
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Do we really have to explain this one? Unless you parted on good terms (and maybe even then), there’s no reason to rake over the coals of past relationships. Removing your ex from your friends list sends the message that you’re ready to move on. And even if you aren’t ready to move on, unfriend him anyway to spare yourself any pain and to curb any masochistic stalking tendencies.
2. The Total Stranger
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Maybe you met this guy once at a convention with 800 other attendees. Maybe it’s your office mate’s cousin’s wife’s best friend. If checking out a person’s profile doesn’t tell you immediately who that person is to you and why you’re friends, it’s a good indicating you should take him or her off your list.
3. The Tag Whore
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Posting a photo of her super cute dog or of his awesome vacation is no excuse to be tagging all anyone and everyone on one’s friends list, to the point where, having exceeded the acceptable number of tags on a post, one might start commenting on the post in order to tag more people. This behavior should not be condoned. Instead, it should be punished with an unequivocal unfriending.
4. The Invite Pusher
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Networking night, club night with DJ You-Couldn’t-Care-Less, obscure health store, any sort of app or game—you probably have a person on your friends list who seems pathologically unable to like or engage in anything online without inviting other people to do the same. Don’t be an enabler for the overaggressive inviter. Tell him it’s not okay. And if he keeps sending those invites anyway, well, that’s what unfriending’s for.
5. The Narcissist
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This person is the selfie queen or king on your list not because he or she wants to share awesome experiences, learnings, and discoveries with others but because he or she wants to show you that his or her life is way better than yours. But selfies are only one symptom of social network-enabled narcissism. Say you comment on something in your life, and the only time this person comments is when it relates to his or her life. Say you post a picture or share a link and the comment he or she posts only serves to drive you back to his or her own wall or to talking about him or her. Such blatant self-absorption need not be rewarded by continued friending!
6. The Killjoy
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Say you splurge on a new outfit or gadget or kikay item. The last thing you want is a lecture of starving children in some other part of the world who could make better use of the money you spent on your little gift to yourself. Or maybe you change your status to “in a relationship” and instead of congratulating you, this person issues an admonishment and reminds you about past breakups. There’s enough stress in life without having to deal with Debbie Downers, so go ahead and hit “unfriend”!
7. The Bad Influence
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Any person who lures you to make decisions that go against your goals and ethics is a BI in our book. Now, to be fair, this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is doing it on purpose, in which case, you may want to make it a temporary unfriendling or simply hide this person’s posts from your news feed. Maybe it’s the foodie friend who posts mouthwatering photos, and it’s the first week of your diet. Maybe it’s the friend who’s always buying shiny new things that have you itching to spend yourself. Find your center, unfriend if necessary, and decide when it’s safe to add him or her back as a friend.
8. The User
GIF from Cruel Intentions via giphy.com
This is an even less healthy friend to have than The Narcissist, although many Narcissists do become Users. You know who this is. It’s the person who only ever sends you a PM to ask you for favors or information, oftentimes without so much as a “Hi! How are you?” first. Maybe it’s the office mate who gets you to cover for her when she’s on “sick leave” that somehow involves hitting the beach or going abroad and having an awesome time. Maybe it’s the friend who wants free professional consults. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing on its own, but if the only time these people are sending smileys your way is when they’re asking for something and if they never give anything back, well, feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s unfriending time!
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Liana Smith Bautista is an article writer, web content manager, manuscript copy editor, and blogger—and she thinks it's awesome that she earns her living marketing on her love for the written word.